What are the Differences Between Industrial Hemp and Marijuana?

Differences Between Industrial Hemp and Marijuana

There are still many people who just don’t understand the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. Many people just consider them to be the same thing and without the right education and information getting out there, it’s going to be difficult to get laws passed to allow industrial hemp farming in the United States when people still aren’t supporting it due to their own lack of knowledge.

The other day while talking to a friend on the phone, I mentioned a fantastic banana hemp snack I had made for my daughter who is 18 months old. This particular friend sat in silence a good bit and then proceeded to tell me how she could not believe that I would knowingly give my daughter marijuana.

Alright, I will admit, I did laugh a bit by her statement, but to be honest, this is the problem with many people in this country and is exactly why industrial hemp still has a bad reputation and considered to be a drug by misinformed people. People don’t take the time to educate themselves on what hemp is, what health benefits it provides and how it can actually benefit this country on an economic level. And so my friends, it’s time for a little lesson on industrial hemp and THC.

First, let’s just squash the biggest and most obvious bug in front of us. Industrial hemp is NOT marijuana. You can’t get high from eating hemp seeds or drinking hemp milk. That yummy hemp butter you spread on your sandwiches isn’t going to get you high or give you the munchies…in fact hemp is a great weight-loss aid and can curb your appetite.

Hemp Farming

Photo provided by Aleks Wikipedia user.

Hemp is one of our very first agricultural crops and has been grown by American farmers since up to around the 1930’s. Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp and at one point, Americans could even pay their taxes with hemp. In fact, if you really want to get into the history of hemp you should read this.

Did you also know that hemp can be grown with no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides? That’s right, it’s completely organic. It’s also a great weed control…no not that weed…bad weeds like dandelions.

There are so many nutritional health benefits to hemp like the high protein or the fact that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. It doesn’t stop there though. Hemp also is fantastic in beauty products as they contain natural moisturizers, anti-aging properties, and healing properties. It also is the perfect fiber to make clothing from or wonderful hemp paper. Our own Declaration of Independence was drafted on paper made from hemp. We can even make fuel and plastic from hemp.

What are the Differences Between Industrial Hemp and Marijuana?

Hemp Plants

Photo Provided by Barbetorte Wikipedia User.

So glad you asked! While marijuana and industrial hemp both come from the Cannabis sativa L plant, industrial hemp contains only about .3% THC (that’s what makes you high) while actual marijuana contains around 5-10% and sometimes more THC. Marijuana is cannabis that is grown for the buds of the plant that contain THC (these are the shorter bushy plants), while industrial hemp is referring to the cannabis sativa plants that are grown for its fibers and seeds use for nutritional purposes, clothing, oils and many other purposes that have nothing to do with getting high. (look more like tall skinny stalks). 

The reason the THC is practically non-existent in industrial hemp is because it is not cultivated to produce the buds that contain THC. Without the buds, there is no marijuana. In fact, industrial hemp contains Cannabidiol (CBD) that actually lessens the psychoactive effects of THC by stabilizing disrupted receptor pathways in the brain. Seriously..if this were a drug, it would be the absolute worst recreational drug in the world!

Aside from the THC levels, there is actually a visual difference as well. Marijuana plants are typically wide and bushy and only grow to around five feet in height. Industrial hemp is typically grown up and to heights of 15 feet! The long skinny stalks are perfect for industrial use due to the fiber and the core material that can be used for many purposes like building.

What about the legal aspect in the differences?

While the DEA has made attempts to ban all products made from hemp, they haven’t yet won that battle in court (thank goodness). All it has the legal authority to as of now is ban products containing THC, but not to include hemp products with no measurable amount of THC.

Industrial hemp could be life changing for United States for its health benefits, environment and economic benefits. It’s time to start spreading the word around about industrial hemp and showing people what it is and what it isn’t. If you want to take it a step even further, take action by sending in letters to your senators and representatives.

Share this post on your Facebook, Tweet it on Twitter and shout about it from the rooftops. Hemp could change our world!

Comments (8)
  1. SALESH DIPAK June 6, 2014
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    • Misty Spears June 6, 2014
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